Last minute dash to buy Christmas cards and advent calendars as shoppers prepared for lockdown

- Published:
- Short URL:

Bumper sales figures show that shoppers rushed to Oxfam to buy their favourite festive staples before the shutters came down in England’s second lockdown.

High street sales of Christmas cards and advent calendars were around five times higher than last year in the days before lockdown. Sales of Oxfam’s ranges of ethical and sustainable Christmas gifts, ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ and ‘Unwrapped’, more than doubled ahead of shops closing. However, while the last-minute splurge is welcome, a month of lost high street sales looms, and Oxfam is urging supporters to shop online to continue raising funds for the charity.

Peter Haden, Oxfam’s Retail Director, said: “It looks like people brought forward their Christmas shopping ahead of the lockdown, focussing on Christmas cards as a way to stay in touch. We’re grateful to them and now we are asking them to continue shopping with us online to limit the financial effect of the new lockdown. Every day our physical shops remain shut we’ll lose more than two hundred thousand pounds – enough for 20,000 people in vulnerable communities to receive life-saving clean water, handwashing facilities and supplies for healthcare workers. By Christmas shopping online, people can help us to keep delivering this vital work when it’s needed most.”

As people made preparations to hunker down for the second lockdown, Oxfam saw online book sales jump by a third overnight on November 5. Since shops closed books have consistently been the best-selling category online with fiction/crime the most sought after, suggesting customers are looking for escapism during lockdown.  During the first lockdown, books overtook womenswear as the best seller, although both online categories are growing.

The Oxfam Online Shop continues to stock Christmas staples like advent calendars, cards and crackers, as well as the charity’s new product line Sourced By Oxfam. Made by craftspeople around the world, the line includes homewares like seagrass baskets woven by people in Vietnam, and handmade Christmas decorations. Craftspeople receive a fair wage for their work, and all profits go towards Oxfam’s work worldwide, helping more people overcome poverty. A wide selection of books and music can be found online, along with clothing and homewares.


Notes to editors

  • Oxfam has 595 shops in the UK. By buying and donating your clothes through Oxfam shops, you can help to protect our planet, while helping the poorest people around the world to escape the injustice of poverty. To find your local Oxfam shop go to Visit Oxfam’s Online Shop at
  • Oxfam is helping poor people deal with the consequences of coronavirus around the world. Oxfam is working with local partners, governments and key UN agencies in 65 countries in response to the crisis. This includes preventive measures like distributing soap and building handwashing stations in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, delivering clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Zaatari camp in Jordan and providing beds, handwashing facilities and protective clothing in quarantine centres in Gaza.
  • Oxfam is a global movement of people all working towards the same goal – an end to the injustice of poverty. Together we save and rebuild lives in disasters, help people earn a living, and speak out on the big issues, like inequality and climate change, that keep people poor.

Press contact

For comments, interviews, or information please contact the Oxfam GB Media Team: